New Classics Major In Buffalo!


Canisius College will introduce a new bachelor’s degree in classics, the study of ancient Greek and Roman civilizations and the Greek and Latin languages, in fall 2010.

The new classics major will prepare students for graduate work in the field and also train a new generation of Latin teachers to meet increasing demand across the United States and Canada. The new major enhances the study of classics at Canisius, which already supports two popular classics minors. The classics major also aims to attract a greater number of academically gifted students to Canisius, and provide additional support and visibility to the college’s quality academic programs.

Students may choose one of two tracks within the new classics major: Greek and Hellenic studies or Latin and Roman studies. Course work in each track includes components of classical language, history and literature, as well as art history, philosophy, political science, and religious studies and philosophy.

“The study of classics is an integral part of a liberal arts education and of a Jesuit education in particular,” says Thomas Banchich, PhD, professor and chair of the Classics Department at Canisius College. “Classics develops in students an understanding of the historical dimension of the human condition and of the complex relationships between religion, language, philosophy and social structures, as well as the legacy of classical antiquity.”

The acceptance rate into graduate programs and professional schools is consistently high for classics students. Canisius classics alumni have entered medical schools, law schools and graduate programs in many humanities fields. They have become university presidents, directors of major publishing companies, bankers, scientists, software designers, classics professors and high school Latin teachers.

via: Fall Semester Brings New Major In Classics | Canisius College

Classical Works Knowledge Base

The Cornell University Seal
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A very interesting project at Cornell:

Scholars looking for multiple sources and translations from among 1,000 years of ancient Greek and Latin texts will have a powerful new tool in their research arsenal with a database being developed at Cornell.

The Classical Works Knowledge Base (CWKB) — a relational database and specialized link resolver software — will facilitate linking from citations of ancient texts to the online versions of those texts. The database will ultimately cover all Latin and Greek authors from Homer to Bede, from approximately the eighth century B.C. to the mid-eighth century A.D.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation recently granted $215,000 to the American Philological Association (APA) to implement the project, spearheaded by principal investigator Eric Rebillard, professor of Classics and history, in collaboration with Cornell librarians David Ruddy and Adam Chandler. The APA project also received a Mellon planning grant in 2008.

“I got in touch with University Librarian Anne Kenney for consulting with library specialists about the possibility of using the OpenURL framework for linking citations to full texts. She organized a meeting, and after that the project developed in a collaborative way with David Ruddy in E-Publishing and Adam Chandler in Database Management,” Rebillard said.

Rebillard, Ruddy and Chandler have developed a working prototype at Rebillard expects the fully functional version of CWKB to be online in two years.

CWKB works by parsing OpenURL links (commonly used in libraries to help patrons retrieve scholarly articles) once a citation has been clicked on. OpenURL metadata is sent to the link resolver, which “creates several links — because you can have several versions for the same citation, in the original language and in translation,” Rebillard said.

“OpenURL was created about 10 years ago to solve this problem of linking from a citation to the full text,” said Chandler, the database management research librarian who programmed the CWKB software. “The current OpenURL method of journal citation isn’t quite what we needed, so we designed another metadata format for linking to these canonical works.”

The electronic version of the database of classical bibliography L’Année philologique (The Year in Philology) will be the first abstract and index database to propose such links to CWKB. Many other resources are potential users of the new tool.

“For example, the works of the Founding Fathers are full of references to classical texts,” Rebillard said. “It would greatly enhance the reading of the Founding Fathers to have links to those texts.”

With applications for canonical citations in other fields and types of literature, the project can serve as a model and tool for scholarship in a number of disciplines.

“We’ve wanted to keep the OpenURL metadata part of our project as widely useful as possible,” Ruddy said. “This work can be applied to any discipline that has developed conventions of textual citation which are reasonably independent of specific editions, such as in Biblical or Shakespearean studies.”

Cornell Chronicle: Classical Knowledge Base project.

Hopefully this will be something that is open access …

Greek Scandal at Cambridge!

University of Cambridge coat of arms.
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A spelling mistake in ancient Greek on the doors to the Cambridge University classics faculty has left officials red-faced.

The stylish new entrance to the £1.3 million extension at the department, on the university’s Sidgwick site, boasts glass doors emblazoned with a quote by Aristotle, chosen by academics from the faculty.

But the quote – which translates as “all men by nature desiring to know” – includes the letter S, when it should in fact have the Greek letter sigma.

Prof Mary Beard, a member of the department, also criticised the electronic opening mechanism of the doors.

In her blog, she wrote: “Even the gods have shown their disapproval in their own inimitable way.

“We decided to have some nice ancient writing across the offending doors (partly another health and safety requirement – you can’t have plain glass doors in case someone bumps into them – I kid you not).

“One of the quotes we chose was that famous lines of Aristotle about ‘all men by nature desiring to know’. But look what happened to the S of ‘Phusei’ (by nature) . . . an English S not a Greek S.”

Prof Beard said the doors were too heavy for some people to push open manually – causing “rage and bottle necks” for staff and students.

The classicist said: “To open them, you have to press an electronic ‘open door’ button – and they then sweep aside dramatically in front of you. Dramatically and slowly. So, at busy times (like, on the hour, when lectures are changing over), there is a mass of bodies trying to get into and out of the building, but needing to wait for the stately pace of the doors’ operation.

“In any case, as soon as you push them open and then someone pushes the button from the other side, the doors take on a life of their own and come back and attack you.

“And as if that wasn’t enough, they repeatedly stop working anyway.”

The two-storey extension sparked a row with the nearby faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies when plans were announced. Prof Richard Bowring, a professor in Japanese studies, described the design as “far from being an elegant solution”, and predicted a “blind corner” at the site would lead to a “nasty accident”.

But Prof Malcolm Schofield, chairman of the classics faculty board, described it as “ingenious and elegant”.

The university declined to comment.

via Cambridge News | New doors are all Greek to classics department.

… kind of reminds me of the plaque I read every time I have a health and safety meeting at our union office. In very large letters we read “IN MEMORIUM” … shudder (ad nauseum (cuz I’m ‘sic’ of course) …

More coverage (you’d think there’d be a bit more creativity in headlines):